analysis

Times Square Accident and How We See It

I meant to write about editing my reel together today, and then a car drove straight into pedestrians at Times Square, and it made me think about how we feel about and react to things around us.

Because I heard the news and barely reacted at all.

Before I knew it was a drunk driver, I got a little upset that someone tried to attack MY NEW YORK again. And I was - and still am - sad for the person who died and their friends/family. I hope that the people who were injured heal easily and swiftly. But that's all a little in the background since I don't know any of them. And I'm not sure to what extent that's terrifying, or is it just normal human psychology?

We hear so many stories of people getting hurt and dying every day. We can't possibly grieve them all. We couldn't get on with our own lives if we did. Is that mindset compassion fatigue, or a normal coping mechanism?

The other thing about that which scares me is that later on today, I was hanging out with my brother (he just got home for the summer from his sophomore year of college!) and we were watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the episode we watched made me cry.

Real people being injured did next to nothing for me, but a fictional girl dying on a TV show made me lose my shit.

Now, there are some obvious differences. I can see the people crying on Star Trek. Even if they're not real, they're characters that I'm very familiar with, so it feels like I know them. It's personal. And all I've seen about the events in Times Square today are a couple of headlines from the New York Times. I don't think I know anyone who was involved. But isn't it supposed to be part of human empathy that we can feel for people we don't know when tragedies befall them?

I genuinely don't have any answers to this. Is it a problem that is unique to the modern era since, with modern technology, we can hear more than ever about terrible things around the world, and we're simply overwhelmed? But humans have heard about and committed atrocities throughout all of history and moved on with their lives. I don't really know. But both as a human and as an actor who is supposed to feel, observe, and tell the stories of human emotion, it's something I couldn't not think about today.

I hope you and your loved ones are all alright.

Know Thyself - γνῶθι σεαυτόν

So self-image is weird. Not just self-image, but the way we behave that confirms or denies that is weird. And the way that other people confirm or deny that for us, and how we choose to see it.

I know so many people who say that they're actors, but they haven't gone on auditions in months, and they certainly don't create any work for themselves. But they will insist over and over again when they go to the movies or watch an episode of a TV show that they really like that they can't wait to be there themselves. And I compare them to friends of mine who don't consider themselves to be in the industry, but make theater just for fun, and it's incredible. And they're clearly doing the work, which becomes obvious in how their shows are happening now. (Check out Measure for Measure by one of these friends on May 5th and 6th! I'll be in it, too!)

Or there's also, you know, me. (It is my blog, after all.) I consider myself a fairly attractive person. I'm not Keira Knightley, but I'm pretty. And my friends seem to agree. I posted this photo that a friend took on a commercial shoot on Facebook and Instagram

and had friends commenting about how cool it was that I was there, and how good I looked. I appreciate that, and it was very sweet of them. But then I look at my romantic life, and I'm what a romcom would call "unlucky in love." Most of that is by choice, because I'd rather be working on my career, but, like, damn. And it's the kind of thing that makes me question whether, in this area, I'm like the people who say that they're actors but are so oblivious as to not realize they haven't worked in years.

I think self-awareness is important. I think it's good that I know that, at least in part, I made this post so I could fish for compliments and show off the above photo. I think it's okay to ask for those things. But also, sometimes, I think I may need to reevaluate my worldview and self-view, and that's a weird thing to do.

Funny Vines and the Rabbit Hole - "Brevity is the soul of wit." - Oscar Wilde

I have been falling all the way down a Vine compilation rabbit hole, you guys.

It's been making me think of the Oscar Wilde quote and how people can tell all of these stories in just six seconds. And what that means for people who want to tell feature-length stories.

The first time I watched through the first video, I started literally crying from laughter. And then I went to YouTube and started finding others like the second. And there's a certain point where I already have knowledge that some of those videos relied on. Whether it was some of the basics of the New Testament, or what the theme from The X-Files means, the humor relied on a shared cultural knowledge that the story didn't have to set up, only reference. And, granted, some Vines are funny because of the same thing that makes America's Funniest Home Videos funny - it's people failing to do relatively basic things in an extreme way, which isn't always useful for storytelling.

But, like, if people can tell stories that good in only six seconds, how the hell does anyone ever expand stories into, like, an hour and a half movie??

Well, there's setting up information. A feature length film can't just used the Grand Theft Auto "wasted" screen, it has to have scenes that set up what it means, and why it's bad. So I guess there's exposition. And you typically tell a more complex story in a feature, one with subplots, which doesn't really fit into a Vine. So there's that.

I just can't help thinking, though, that writing a feature is more like writing a bajillion features, cutting them all down to their core, and then finding convenient ways to stick them together into the semblance of a larger story.

Bridesmaids, for instance. (Spoilers ahead? Kinda?) It's about a girl who is the Maid of Honor at her best friend's wedding. But it's also about her falling in love with a guy. And it's also about her falling out of love with another guy. And it's about her repairing her relationship with her best friend. And it's about her sabotaging her "competition" for her best friend. And it's about her becoming friends with that other girl. And it's about all of them going to Las Vegas. And it's about all of them getting on a plane to go to Las Vegas. And it's about all of them being able to afford nice flights on the plane to Las Vegas except for her. And it's about how she gets sick on flights. And it's about what a sick, nervous, jealous person does while on a flight. And it's about how a sick, nervous, jealous person on a flight tries to get into first class. Et cetera.

Each of those are full stories on their own, and they get combined in such a way that they tell the story of Bridesmaids. I haven't even gone into the scenes with trying on dresses, or the wedding itself, or the bridal shower, or most of the movie.

It's probably not exactly revolutionary that every story can be broken up into smaller stories. An acting teacher once described analyzing a script as being like looking at a fractal pattern.

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You can analyze the design, but if you start to look at any one particular piece of it, then you'll see the same complete design.

I'm just astounded by how good these Viners are at telling their stories in the short form. And, like, imagine if we got a bunch of them together to tell a feature length story.

I also can't help but realize how ridiculous it is that I've gone on for this long about the virtues of the short form. This is probs how most of the bad feature length projects happen.

Power and Attaining It - "There is no good and evil. Only power, and those too weak to seek it." - Voldemort

Maybe it's the Slytherin in me, but I've been considering that quote a lot lately and to what extent it actually is true.

Most of the time, if I want something to happen, I make it happen. If I want to be in movies, I make them. If there's a person I like, I ask them out. I am the one in control of the world around me, and I shape it to my liking.

That sounds an awful lot like putting myself out there and taking risks and doing all of those other things creatives are supposed to do. AMAZING HOW THAT WORKS OUT.

It's interesting, though, that it sounds like creatives have all this power, but it's not like we have the ability to say "go" to a major project. It's really just personal power.

But isn't that the same thing? People follow those who take the lead, which gives those with that personal power a broader kind of power. Influence over those people, for instance.

Maybe power compounds upon itself? And maybe that's why it can be so hard to come into your personal power, because we know that it will expand, and that's terrifying?

And maybe the greatest of us can do it because we have something we're fighting for, and that's what gets us through the terror? And the best of us are so good because there is a good and evil, and they are good and have power?

I'm legitimately working this out for myself as I'm trying to figure out how to be powerful and take what is rightfully mine (or at least legitimately go after it) while not being selfish about everything that I want.

Basically what I'm saying here is that this theme came up on my Pandora the other day, and it reminded me how much I want to be like Daenerys Targaryen. I'm just sayin'. As I get prepared for the new year, I'm pretty sure one of my resolutions is going to be to try to make myself more like her.

Faith and Love

If you follow my blog at all regularly, you know that I believe in the importance of hard work. You know that I believe that doing the work is what gives you the edge over other people. That I believe that I'm not the most naturally talented actress out there, and I'm not the most well connected actress out there, but I am among the hardest working actresses out there, and that's what allows me to believe that I have a shot in the industry.

But lately, I've been thinking a lot about the path of least resistance, and how sometimes the universe will naturally guide you along your path, regardless of how hard you struggle for it.

Over the past week, I've had two interactions with two very close friends where they told me about what my friendship has meant to them, and how I affected their lives. And both times, it was in things I didn't even know I was doing. Or, more precisely, it was in times when I didn't think I was doing anything.

On a completely different note that still leads to the same thesis, last week I was in a casting class with a casting director who works primarily in film and TV. After I did the sides she had assigned me the first time, she told me that, from just listening to it, she loved my performance, and I had hit every note in the scene. But from watching me, I was doing too much. For my second take, I did nothing. And she loved it.

I believe in the power of hard work, but sometimes life doesn't have to be about work at all. And that is the hardest balance to find.

As I'm used to almost everything in your life happening because of me and the work that I've put in (aside from assistance I've received through the privilege into which I was born, like the color of my skin), it's incredibly difficult to trust that things will just happen on camera, or in my relationships. The subjective and the emotional is almost impossible to understand, making it hard to believe.

I guess I need a deeper study of faith in my life.

Fun, Dumb, and Intellectual - "No fun allowed!" - Me, apparently

It's bizarre to realize that I'm a serious person.

Sorry that isn't especially sexy. But the other day I saw a casting call for hosts for a webseries that said the person they're looking for has to be "fun/dumb/charismatic/etc enough for them to want to follow" and it upset me. I'm horrified by how anti-intellectual that is, that you have to be dumb for someone to follow you.

And the thing is, I know we're better than that as a society. There is so much smart media out there (The Golden Age of Television! We're in it! There's SO MUCH smart TV out there today!) that OF COURSE we like smart people and intellectual things!

But for whatever reason, especially at the most entry levels of careers in the entertainment industry, there seems to be a prevailing idea that we have to appeal to the lowest common denominators. I've written about actors on social media and how we seem to make a lot of the same posts as each other because we don't know what else to do, but I've realized that the other thing I don't like about it is how we all revert easily back to the phrase "I had so much fun on set." As if having had fun is the most noteworthy part of our experience? I so rarely see actors talk about how the work they put into the story they're telling, the connections they made with their castmates and how that influenced their craft, or what they're trying to say about the human condition. It's always just about how much fun they had on set next to a selfie of them.

Don't get me wrong, selfies are great, and I would never say that we shouldn't have fun on set. Selfies are the single best way to take control of your image and how you present yourself, and if you're not having fun, you can't feel safe enough to be emotionally vulnerable on camera or on stage. This is not me being all

Really. I promise. You know me. I'm all about dick jokes and bad puns.

But can't there be some middle ground in between having fun and having something serious to say about the world?

Because I really don't like this revelation that, since I am not and will not be dumb, I'm not a person "they" want to follow. I don't like being a serious person. I just like to think about serious things sometimes, and I don't think those have to be mutually inclusive concepts.

Gettin' Naked in the Movies - "This is not a porn film, but..." - A casting call about a month ago

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post that referenced stripping in the title, and it got more hits than anything else I've written on this blog in ages. So I figured, why not give the people what they want?

Is it possible that you, my readers, were actually impressed by the fact that I was making movies and living the dream with spectacular castmates and crew, and that's why you all read it? Sure. But there aren't any updates on The Slightly Awkward First Date of John and Joanna right now, so I can't do more of that. (Check back here next week, though!)

So instead I'm just going to write about doing nudity in film! And why I don't do it.

(Hee. You see what I did there?)

About a year and a half ago, a couple of other actresses and I were brought in to a class for film students about how to direct actors at a prestigious university. The professor wanted to give these future film professionals an idea of what it's like to experience the industry from an actor's point of view, so we did a Q&A with them. And eventually, one of the students asked us about doing nudity, and what does and does not make us comfortable with it/when we were willing to do it. The other actresses in the Q&A both said that they didn't love doing it, but they're artists, so if it was really called for in the story, it was a good enough story, and they were respectfully treated, they were okay with it.

It's amazing how quickly an entire room of aspiring directors got angry at me when they looked to me for my response, and I said "Really? Because I don't do nudity. Not ever. Especially not for unpaid student films. Hell no."

I promptly found myself in a fight.

"But what if you need it to tell the story?" "We're all trying to make art here and we're supposed to collaborate and each give our all." "So you're saying that you never want to tell stories about relationships and sexuality?" "Don't you know how many roles you're losing out on if you won't do nudity?" "You know, I think it's kind of really beautiful, and you're being a little bit closed-minded about it."

They were really not happy that I had such a strong reaction against nudity. And none of them wanted to hear my self-branding reason ("My type is the girl-next-door, innocent and sweet. If there are any nude images of me out there, they will find their way onto the internet, and then that image of me will be ruined forever and I won't be cast-able,") or my business reason ("I mean, if Game of Thrones called tomorrow and said that they had a huge part for me with a huge salary to match, then I'd consider it, but you're asking me to give away a lot, for free, for your student project,") and they DEFINITELY didn't want to hear my artist/storyteller reason ("Besides, nudity is a crutch anyway. You absolutely never need it to tell your story, and 100% of the time you can find another way to show levels of intimacy, attraction, or whatever else.")

To be clear, I don't think any less of people who do, in fact, do nudity. I don't think it's a good business decision, but it's their body and they can do whatever they want with it. I'm also the kind of liberal hippie that says that we shouldn't be vilifying anyone in the sex industry either, though, and that natural bodies are nothing about which to be ashamed. All of these things are personal decisions, and we have to make the one that feels right to us.

But you know, a year and a half later, I don't feel like my career is in any worse of a place than it would be if I did do nudity. And I don't think I've lost anything by speaking my mind, even when those student directors didn't agree with me or want to hear it. I may not have anything against people who do nudity, be they actors or writer/directors who insist on it. But I do like winning fights!

Heart and Brain in Film - "Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed." - Paul Gallico? Red Smith? I Dunno Who Said It, Really

I don't have a lot of time today, so this is gonna be a hella short post, but I've been thinking a lot over the past week about what makes a movie smart, and why is that good.

Spotlight won the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday, which people tell me was an upset. These are primarily people who had put money down on The Revenant winning Best Picture. (I didn't post my predictions here this year, but I definitely had Spotlight and I wish I had bet on it, myself.)

But I really wasn't surprised because it was just such a smart movie. But what is it that makes it so intelligent? Is it having smart characters? Does that always coincide with having intellectual characters? It oftentimes seems to, especially with Oscar winners, but there were Oscar nominees that don't.

And, at a time where films like Zoolander and Dumb and Dumber are incredibly popular and get at least one sequel, is intelligence the most important thing in making a good movie? Do these count as good movies? They may not have smart characters, but they're made by smart people, they make smart people laugh, and they have tons of heart.

I'm not even gonna try going into what it means to have heart. That's a discussion for a different day/blog post. But what means more? And how is that meaning shown? Through box office returns, or awards? And what about films that get neither of those things, like Steve Jobs? What about films that have both, like The Martian?

At the end of the day, there really ought to be films across the board with characters of all kinds of intelligence, just like there ought to be characters of all kinds of different genders, sexualities, cultures, races, et cetera. That's certainly the moral answer. And it's not untrue.

But (personal opinion time) I think intelligent characters are the best because they make the most interesting decisions. It's harder to put them into comedies, but that makes it all the more impressive when someone can. (I'm looking at you, Mean Girls, 30 Rock, and anything produced by Michael Schur and/or Amy Poehler.) And I think interesting decisions are what really hold us with a good movie. Not random ones, but interesting ones.

And now, to end this blog post, I have to nerd out at least a little bit over the Oscars.

I'm so excited for Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Academy Award!! I know, me and the rest of the internet. But it's been a long time coming, and I'm psyched for him.

Gerda was not a supporting character. But since no one was ever going to beat Brie Larson for Best Actress, I was really rooting for Alicia Vikander to win Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. Also, I'm so happy The Danish Girl got at least a little Oscars love.

Mark Rylance one billion percent deserved Best Supporting Actor award.

A year ago, even though I'm a film score nerd, I couldn't have told you who Ennio Morricone is. Now I have such insane respect for him. He's incredible. And it's even more amazing that this is his first Academy Award as well!!

Go Mad Max for practically sweeping the production categories.

...Oops. Remember that time this was supposed to be a short blog post?

Drink-y Oscars Nominations! (You know, the Golden Globes.)

UPDATE: It is about 6pm EST on Golden Globes night, and I want to revise some of my predictions based on the campaigning season so far. Edits are incorporated through the rest of the post!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

By which I mean it's awards season!! This is when the best films of the year come out! And there are swanky awards nominations and everything everywhere! Including the noms for the Golden Globes!

So I'm freaking out over those and making my pics way too early in the season. These will probably change. But also, screw it, I want to do them anyway.

Ordinarily I pick only a few categories for which I really make predictions. But I don't think there's a single category of the Golden Globes that means less to me than any other. So if my analysis is short... I'm trying to do picks for twenty five categories in a single blog post. Give a girl a break!

As always, the category title is in bold, my pick is in italics, and everything else will probably be marked off with some kind of *asterisk.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Room
*Spotlight

1/10/16: Whoops, just kidding! I definitely think it's Spotlight now.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
*Cate Blanchett - Carol
*Brie Larson - Room
*Rooney Mara - Carol
*Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn
*Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

God, what an insanely strong category this year. I couldn't possibly pick just one. I'm not even rooting for any one of them over the others from pure, personal, emotional preference. They are all extraordinary, and they all deserve it.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl
Will Smith - Concussion

Yes, I know I picked two people. But, between the two of them, it was impossible to decide. The performances in both Steve Jobs and The Danish Girl were so extraordinary I couldn't so much as have one pick and then one as my second choice. Which is probably cheating for my count after the awards themselves happen, but I don't care.
I can tell you who isn't going to win. I'm sure he's fantastic, but Leonardo DiCaprio isn't going to win, and he is going to flip his shit.

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
*The Big Short
Joy
*The Martian
Spy
Trainwreck

1/10/16: I'm not saying Trainwreck isn't great, but I definitely am saying The Big Short is gonna win.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
Melissa McCarthy - Spy
Amy Schumer - Trainwreck
Maggie Smith - The Lady in the Van
*Lily Tomlin - Grandma

I think Grandma was too small an indie film to have the funds to campaign and win awards season categories. I just wanted to point out Lily Tomlin in this movie because she was wonderful.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale - The Big Short
Steve Carell - The Big Short
Matt Damon - The Martian
Al Pacino - Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo - Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Motion Picture - Animated
Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

If Inside Out doesn't win, it'll be an upset on the level of The Lego Movie not winning at the Oscars.

Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language
The Brand New Testament
The Club
The Fencer
Mustang
Son of Saul

Number of films I've seen in this category: 0. Amount to which I am certain of my choice anyway: 100%.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Jane Fonda - Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren - Trumbo
*Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina
Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

1/10/16: Ohhh man. I might be reversing Alicia Vikander and Kate Winslet? Because I just haven't seen Steve Jobs campaign for much beyond screenplay and Best Actor, and Alicia Vikander has been everywhere! So I think this is going to Alicia Vikander after all, and it'll really be more of a combo win for both this and The Danish Girl.

I don't think Alicia Vikander is going to necessarily win for Ex Machina, especially not over Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs. I just wanted to draw attention to her because I really want her to get all of the things.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Paul Dano - Love & Mercy
*Idris Elba - Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon - 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone - Creed

Best Director - Motion Picture
Todd Haynes - Carol
Alejandro G. Inarritu - The Revenant
Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott - The Martian

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue - Room
*Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer - Spotlight
Charles Randolph, Adam McKay - The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin - Steve Jobs
Quentin Tarantino - The Hateful Eight

Steve Jobs may have bombed at the box office, but Aaron Sorkin is amazing and I don't think I could be capable of not picking him for any screenplay category ever.

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Carter Burwell - Carol
Alexandre Desplat - The Danish Girl
Ennio Morricone - The Hateful Eight
*Daniel Pemberton - Steve Jobs
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto - The Revenant

...I'm literally listening to the score from The Danish Girl now, so it's very possible that I'm highly biased.

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"Love Me Like You Do" - Fifty Shades of Grey
"One Kind of Love" - Love & Mercy
"See You Again" - Fast and Furious 7
"Simple Song #3" - Youth
"Writing's on the Wall" - Spectre

Best Television Series - Drama
Empire
Game of Thrones
Mr. Robot
Narcos
Outlander

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
Caitriona Balfe - Outlander
Viola Davis - How to Get Away with Murder
Eva Green - Penny Dreadful
Taraji P. Henson - Empire
Robin Wright - House of Cards

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Rami Malek - Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura - Narcos
Bob Odenkirk - Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber - Ray Donovan

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Casual
Mozart in the Jungle
Orange is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Veep

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jamie Lee Curtis - Scream Queens
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Veep
*Gina Rodriguez - Jane the Virgin
Lily Tomlin - Grace and Frankie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Aziz Ansari - Master of None
Gael Garcia Bernal - Mozart in the Jungle
Rob Lowe - The Grinder
Patrick Stewart - Blunt Talk
Jeffrey Tambor - Transparent

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
American Crime
American Horror Story: Hotel
*Fargo
Flesh & Bone
Wolf Hall

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Kirsten Dunst - Fargo
Lady Gaga - American Horror Story: Hotel
Sarah Hay - Flesh & Bone
Felicity Huffman - American Crime
Queen Latifah - Bessie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Idris Elba - Luther
Oscar Isaac - Show Me a Hero
David Oyelowo - Nightengale
Mark Rylance - Wolf Hall
*Patrick Wilson - Fargo

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Uzo Aduba - Orange is the New Black
Joanne Froggatt - Downton Abbey
Regina King - American Crime
Judith Light - Transparent
Maura Tierney - The Affair

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Cumming - The Good Wife
Damien Lewis - Wolf Hall
Ben Mendelsohn - Bloodline
Tobias Menzies - Outlander
Christian Slater - Mr. Robot

Full disclosure: I know very little about this year's limited series television shows. I'm mostly basing this off of what I've seen online and what the Emmys did!

This is a really weird year for the awards because, while there are plenty of excellent films and TV shows out there, there isn't any one absolute standout! Or even a few! Which makes this so much harder.

And, you know, of all of the problems out there in the world, having to think a bit more about who my picks are for the Golden Globes is definitely up there. Probably.

The moral of the story: Yay awards season!!

Love in Relationships, a Surprisingly Not Obvious Thing - "I believe that I am a woman." "And so do I." - The Danish Girl

On Saturday I saw The Danish Girl followed by a Q&A with Tom Hooper led by the editor-in-chief of Backstage. Afterwards I ended up chatting with one of the producers for a while about how the film has been seen in the trans community. It was all pretty wonderful, so thanks for tweeting about it, Backstage!

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Now, I could go on for ages about how the film itself is stunning and how the Q&A and discussion was insightful and interesting, and I would be right about all of it. I don't care that those are all subjective statements and matters of opinion. I would be right.

But that's not what I want to do here today. I want to focus on one very specific thing. Or, rather, person.

To me, Eddie Redmayne is pretty much a perfect actor, and I'll tell you why.

(#sorrynotsorry for putting what is essentially a clickbait title in the middle of my blog post.)

Tom Hooper said during the Q&A that he enjoys working with Redmayne because he's so emotionally open while performing. He said that, especially among British actors, you can oftentimes see not just their emotions, but their internal dialogue as part of them fights showing their emotions. And that can make for interesting acting in and of itself, but Redmayne is very in touch with who he is and what he's feeling, and he just... lets everything else go, and just shows what he's feeling right then and right there in the moment. And that's all true and wonderful.

But I think there is something else that makes him so good. He's just extraordinary at finding the love.

The material on which he chooses to work certainly helps with that. The Danish Girl, and last year's The Theory of Everything, are both filled with love. Like, you would have to find the love to do those well.

But on the way home from seeing The Danish Girl, I had the epiphany that everything is about the love. Every great story is a love story. It's not necessarily romantic love, it can also be platonic love, or passion/drive for or towards a specific thing. But it's all always about the love. And he knows how to find it.

The drier, more accurate and academic way of phrasing it is probably closer to "he clearly defines his relationships with everyone and everything around him in each of his roles." And, like, yeah. That's true. But I think, more than that, he also finds the love in each of those relationships somewhere.

Before I start repeating myself too much, the thesis I'm going for is that Eddie Redmayne is such an extraordinary actor because he not only defines his relationships in each role that he plays, but he goes beyond that to find the love in each of those relationships, which is what makes each of them effective, gorgeous, and human. And he's so good at it that he's made it exactly the kind of work I want to be doing.

Besides, it's also a beautiful way to take in the world.

...I may have spent this entire post fangirling over how good an actor Eddie Redmayne is, but I couldn't write a post about The Danish Girl without acknowledging Alicia Vikander and how extraordinary she is in this film as well. Not only is she also wonderful at finding the love, but she's also heart breaking, intelligent, and compelling. During the Q&A, Hooper said that Vikander is an actress who can make pure goodness interesting, which is a very rare trait in an art form that is attracted to conflict and discord. And her Gerda is so feminist while still being human and feeling pain. She's such a standout, and you should be on the lookout for everything that she does. Just sayin'.

Emmy Wrap Up - "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that simply are not there." - Viola Davis

Hey guys, remember how for the Golden Globes I was gonna go award by award and talk about my predictions vs. who actually won, and then said "lol nope" when I realized how long it would take?

GUESS WHO IS A DAMN FOOL AND SURE IS DOING IT NOW FOR THE EMMYS?? (It's me.)

Outstanding Drama Series
My prediction: Mad Men
Who actually won: Game of Thrones

My mother nearly threw her tablet through the TV screen when Mad Men kept losing categories to Game of Thrones. And while I sympathize (I thought Mad Men would clean up the drama Emmys, myself), I still think it's wonderful. I think that it shows that the Emmy voters in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences are starting to skew a little younger, with slightly more open minds about the validity of fantasy as genuine art. Which is awesome.

Outstanding Comedy Series
My prediction: Parks and Recreation
Who actually won: Veep

And now here's the thing I don't like about the way the voters of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences vote: They vote for their friends. And their friends don't change on a year to year basis. Which is why you get the same shows winning some of these awards year after year. A few years ago, it was Modern Family. And now it's Veep. Don't get me wrong, I think Veep is a wonderful, intelligent, interesting, and hilarious show. It's not that I think it doesn't deserve Best Comedy. I just think it won Best Comedy last year. And Parks and Recreation deserves way more recognition than it got. (Which, at the Emmys, was no recognition at all.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
My prediction: Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Who actually won: Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper

There's no analysis that needs to be written here. We all saw this coming from a mile away. Well deserved. So instead, I'm just gonna include a gif of when Jon Hamm rolled on stage to accept it. Please do enjoy the view.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
My prediction: Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal
Who actually won: How to Get Away With Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating

Tatiana Maslany will get her turn for her incredible performances in Orphan Black. But Viola Davis was the right choice. I didn't even realize beforehand that this made her the first black woman to win the lead actress Emmy. (Shows how far I need to check my own privilege.) Now there's nothing I can say that she can't say better herself. So I'm just including her acceptance speech. This is required viewing.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman
Who actually won: Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

If this is at all puzzling to you, you haven't yet seen Transparent. And that's all I have to say about that.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope (although I highlighted everyone)
Who actually won: Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

I suppose this was slightly wishful thinking on my part. But Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a class act, and this was a crazy strong category this year. I just wish it meant that I didn't know she is now going to win just about every year for the rest of Veep's run. I think she's wonderful. I just think the other comedic lead actresses are wonderful, too.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
My prediction: The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold (although I highlighted Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister)
Who actually won: Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

I'm not really sure why I picked Alan Cumming, to be honest. He's quite good, but I knew from the start that Peter Dinklage is the best in this category. So I'm just going to copypaste my analysis from my Emmy predictions post, and we can all laugh at what an idiot I am.

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don’t really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There’s no one in this category I’m especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it’s pretty much just that it’s Alan Cummings’ time.
— Me being dumb

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
My prediction: Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren
Who actually won: Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I like being right. Sometimes I like being right more than others. Watching Uzo Aduba make history as she won Emmys in both drama and comedy for the same role, and seeing how much it means to her, is one of those times I especially like being right.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh
Who actually won: Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

Not gonna lie, this one was pretty arbitrary. So it's just cool that I got it right. Yay Barrow Group alumni!

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Gaby Hoffman as Ali Pfefferman
Who actually won: Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie

My takeaway from this award is that I should probably be watching Mom. Like, full disclosure: I've never seen it before. And I thought I had an idea as to what it's about and the feel of the show. I was clearly quite wrong. And Allison Janney is so, so classy.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
My prediction: Inside Amy Schumer
Who actually won: Inside Amy Schumer

Dude. Go Amy Schumer. She's awesome.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
My prediction: Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Who actually won: Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All.

Outstanding Main Title Design
My prediction: Manhattan
Who actually won: Manhattan

Yooooo this one I knew next to nothing about any of the other nominees I just wanted to highlight the one category in which Manhattan was actually nominated for an Emmy and it totally won that's awesome. (I really, really like Manhattan, you guys.)

...Looking over my predictions post, it seems I didn't make writing predictions. That's weird. But I certainly would've gotten them wrong, as I would've picked Transparent and Mad Men, not Veep or Game of Thrones. You guys fantasy is so legit now it's awesome.

See you all next time in Oscar season!! I mean, also many times before that. But definitely then as well. What I'm trying to say here is I'm a huge sucker for awards shows.

EMMY NOMINATIONS!!

Emmy nominations are out!! So... that means it's time for me to post all of my predictions! I won't bother writing out a whole introduction. You know what the Emmys are. If you're new to me and you're just joining from Telemazing, then you should know that some of my predictions will have analysis underneath and some won't. Also I'm mostly just doing the biggest awards (series, lead and supporting actor and actress, all in both comedy and drama), and a select few other categories that just interest me. So. Yeah. Let's do this!

Things in Bold Italics are the Categories
Things in normal text are regular nominees.
Things in italics are my winner predictions.
*Things with an asterisk are series/people I don't think will win because of industry politics or some other reason, but are good enough that they should.

Outstanding Drama Series
Better Call Saul
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black

I feel like this one is pretty obvious. It was Mad Men's last season, and the Emmys love giving awards to shows as they're on their way out. It's all about examining a Complicated White Male (which the old, white, male Emmy voters love) in the sixties and seventies (which the old, white, male Emmy voters miss). Add that to the fact that the finale was a huge television event that is still discussed so it's pretty present in the average culturally educated mind, and it makes Mad Men a pretty clear choice to win.

Outstanding Comedy Series
Louie
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
Silicon Valley
Transparent
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Veep

Similar to Mad Men winning Best Drama, this is Parks and Rec's last chance, especially since it has never won for Best Comedy! It's also a show that's all about love and friendship while still having something to say about politics and domestic and foreign policy, and the Emmys love a show that has an opinion on something outside of its own overall plot arc. Besides, it's a show that just has tons and tons of heart. I think that Veep and Louie are also excellent series, Modern Family has won pretty much every year for the past several years, and Transparent is straight up a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka, Jill Soloway). But Transparent, Louis, and Veep will be back again next year, Modern Family has had it's due, and now it's time for Parks and Rec to get the recognition it deserves. (And if you've also read Yes Please, by Amy Poehler, then you'll understand why I really want her to get her pudding.)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill
Bloodline - Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn
House of Cards - Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood
Mad Men - Jon Hamm as Don Draper
The Newsroom - Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
Ray Donovan - Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan

Did you know that Jon Hamm has never won an Emmy for his portrayal of Don Draper in Mad Men, even though it's a career making, and beyond that, iconic performance?
If you've read any of my analyses in this post before this, you already understand why I don't think that'll be the case anymore after September 20th.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Empire - Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon
Homeland - Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
House of Cards - Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
How to Get Away with Murder - Viola Davis as Annalise Keating
Mad Men - Elizabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Orphan Black - Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Alison, Cosmia, Helena, Rachel, and Krystal

Does this really need analysis? The pretentious elite (of which I fully admit that I am a member) that make up the Emmy voters (of which I fully admit that I am not) have finally discovered Orphan Black, and now Tatiana Maslany is going to get her dues.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
black-ish - Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson
Episodes - Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
House of Lies - Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
The Last Man on Earth - Will Forte as Phil Miller
Louie - Louis C.K. as Louie
Shameless - William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher
Transparent - Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman

Between how Transparent just cleaned up at the Golden Globes earlier this year, and the fact that the show is literally just a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway), while it may not win Best Comedy, it can certainly give this award to Jeffrey Tambor, who plays Maura with grace and humanity, and not a shred of the self-righteousness that comes with an actor who is trying to Make a Point instead of tell a story.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
*The Comeback - Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish
*Grace and Frankie - Lily Tomlin as Frankie
*Inside Amy Schumer - Amy Schumer as Amy
*Nurse Jackie - Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Parks and Recreation - Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
*Veep - Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer

Guys, this one was actually really, really difficult. Literally any of these women could win, and I would totally understand it, and there would be a part of me that agrees with it. I actually came really close to choosing Edie Falco to win this one as Nurse Jackie is also ending and it's one of those comedies that is really more of a dramady than a comedy. But... she's also won the award for this role already (not to mention previous wins for The Sopranos) and I really think this is the time for Parks and Rec. But really. This is such an over-the-top strong category this year with each of these actresses turning in strong, heartfelt, moving, and hilarious performances. This pick was really, really difficult.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Better Call Saul - Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantrout
Bloodline - Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn
Downton Abbey - Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
*Game of Thrones - Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
The Good Wife - Alan Cumming as Eli Gold
House of Cards - Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper

Alan Cumming has been consistently nominated for this role. And this year The Good Wife got mostly snubbed. And the Emmys don't really have love for high fantasy. Alan Cumming has been pretty present in the culturally conscious mind after his run with Cabaret earlier this year, and then co-hosting the Tonys with Kristen Chenoweth. There's no one in this category I'm especially excited about, aside from Peter Dinklage (who would really be winning more for his performance last season than this one; he was excellent this season, but he just shone last year in the trial and the finale especially) so... it's pretty much just that it's Alan Cummings' time.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey - Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates
*Game of Thrones - Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Game of Thrones - Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
The Good Wife - Christine Baranski as Diane Lockheart
Mad Men - Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Orange is the New Black - Uzo Aduba as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren

I know I just said that the Emmys doesn't usually have love for the Emmys, but dude, Cersei's walk of shame. That's the kind of scene that'll be shown in Lena Headey's lifetime achievement awards. I also want you to believe me when I say that it hurts me physically to not be putting an asterisk next to Emilia Clarke's name because she is my khaleesi but for this specific season there are other performances that are stronger than hers. Not to say that hers isn't wonderful and strong. Just that there are others that are stronger.
And yet you'll notice that my choice to win wasn't either of those two, but Uzo Aduba. And there are two reasons for that. First and foremost, because she deserves it. Her Crazy Eyes is touching and heartfelt and painful to watch because it's so personal, real, and you can't help but feel for her. I want to make it clear that this is the primary reason. Because she's really good. Also because the other reason is you'll notice how all of my other picks so far have been white people. I genuinely do believe that I picked the actors who had the best performances in their categories, but especially since this one is a pretty tight race, I think the Emmys will want to avoid the bad press that the Oscars got from having a whitewashed list of winners and make sure to have at least a little diversity there.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andre Braugher as Captain Ray Holt
Girls - Adam Driver as Adam Sackler
Key & Peele - Keegan-Michael Key as Various Characters
Modern Family - Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon
Veep - Tony Hale as Gary Walsh

The pretentious intellectuals who vote for the Emmys love Veep. And Tony Hale is an alumnus of the acting school I currently attend. (Yay The Barrow Group!) But... I couldn't give you a real reason I chose him over any other actor here. There are pretty much an even number of reasons why each actor here would or wouldn't win. Andre Braugher is excellent, but the show overall is more about laughs than getting deep at any point about people and the human condition. (And I say that as a huge, huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.) Adam Driver is having an excellent, public spotlight-y kind of a year, but nobody is really talking about Girls, specifically. Keegan-Michael Key does really intelligent, interesting sketches on Key & Peele, but sketch performers almost never win outside of a variety series category. The Emmys usually love on Modern Family, but maybe people are just too sick of it winning everything for it to win anything this year. Tituss Burgess has created a colorful, complete character in Titus Andromedon, but not necessarily a complex one. I just... can't think of a reason Tony Hale  wouldn't win. So... he's my pick to win.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory - Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
Getting On - Niecy Nash as Denise "Didi" Ortley
Modern Family - Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Mom - Allison Janney as Bonnie
Saturday Night Live - Kate McKinnon as Various Characters
Transparent - Gaby Hoffmann as Ali Pfefferman
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline Voorhees
Veep - Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer

Transparent. Is. A. Gift. To. Us. All. From. The. TV. Gods. (Aka Jill Soloway).
Don't get me wrong, I love Allison Janney in anything and everything she chooses to do. Same goes for Kate McKinnon. And Jane Krakowski never won an Emmy for Jenna Maloney on 30 Rock, so I think she should get one for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Next season. But right now. Transparent is a gift to us all from the TV gods (aka Jill Soloway).

...This, by the way, is the point where I'm just going to go and bring up a few select categories that particularly interest me for whatever reason. Just so you know.

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series
*Drunk History
Inside Amy Schumer
Key & Peele
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live

So the asterisk this time doesn't mean that I think Drunk History should win over Inside Amy Schumer... it's really more my way of calling attention to what an awesome series it is, especially if you're a fellow history nerd.
But I think this is really where the fact that Amy Schumer is this year's "it" girl is super gonna come in clutch. You know, that and the fact that the show has been insightful, clever, and feminist as well as funny.

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
The Comedians - Mel Brooks as Mel Brooks
Inside Amy Schumer - Paul Giamatti as Juror #10
Saturday Night Live - Bill Hader as Host
Saturday Night Live - Louis C.K. as Host
Transparent - Bradley Whitford as Marcy
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Jon Hamm as Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne

Well, by this point you already know that Transparent is a gift to us all et cetera. But I also want to throw out there that watching Bradley Whitford in anything is just an incredible lesson in acting. So watching Bradley Whitford in Transparent... guys, he's incredible. I wanted to stay away from opinions in my analyses because saying that actor in a particular role is "good" or "bad" is subjective and almost never helpful to true understanding of a someone's position. So I will also say that his portrayal of Marcy is subtle, funny, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. Even as we watch his scenes from Maura's (Jeffrey Tambor) point of view, he slowly brings the audience along to experiencing his world through his eyes as well. It's big and bright and exciting and quiet and intellectual and new. And guys, he's wonderful.

Outstanding Main Title Design
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Bosch
Halt and Catch Fire
******Manhattan
Marvel's Daredevil
Olive Kitteridge

I haven't seen all of these series, and so I haven't seen their opening titles. I haven't picked a winner here because I'm just straight up not qualified to pick a winner among all these shows I haven't seen. In fact, you might even say that I've only seen one out of the six shows listed here. I just really like Manhattan and wanted to point out the one category in which it was nominated for an Emmy.

Okay, this blog post took me literally three hours to write up. I nearly did it last night after I got home at one in the morning from seeing Me and Earl and the Dying Girl before realizing what a dumb idea that would be. (That movie, incidentally, totally wrecked me in the best possible way.) So now I'm just gonna stop.

But what do you think? Do you agree with me?? Why???

(Guys, I'm really excited about the Emmys.)

Social Media for Actors - "Sorry! It's at the cleaners, along with my Prada hoodie and my f*** you flip flops!" - The Social Network

Does the quote totally fit? No. Do I care? No. Is that because I think, as it's from The Social Network, it's close enough to fitting? Exactly.

Today I want to talk about social media and the extent to which actors are "supposed" to use it.

On one hand, pretty much every actor I've ever admired says that we all need to get off of the internet and just do things! That they don't have time for things like Facebook and Twitter, they're too busy doing things in real life. And that's pretty simple and straightforward. Great.

On the other hand, every expert and coach whose articles I've read in Backstage or anywhere else has said that actors absolutely have to have and actively update a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera, otherwise Industry Professionals will never discover us. Which is... also pretty simple and straightforward.

And neither of those viewpoints has any room to incorporate the other.

So you see the dilemma here.

Personally, I like social media. Maybe it's because I'm a pretty huge gossip. I try not to spread negative rumors, but I always want to know everything. And social media makes it so much easier to see what's going on in the lives of my friends. Plus, it's good for a 30 second break in between tasks. Go to Facebook real quick, see what new statuses people have posted in the last couple of hours, then move on to the next thing. I take pleasure from it.

But the ugly side of social media is how it can try to claim literally all of your free time. I will fully admit, for instance, that I kinda hate Facebook Messenger. Like, I will use it to message people when I don't necessarily have their phone number, or they're in another country, or something like that. It's useful. But I also have nearly 20 unread messages waiting for me in my inbox there. I'm sure I'll respond to them eventually. But that takes so much time, and there's an immediacy to it that I really dislike. Maybe it's just me? But I always feel like, unless they're offline when I send the message, I have to stay online and have a full blown conversation with them. And I don't have the time for that. I'm only on Facebook for 30 seconds in between tasks, after all.

I think you can also see how I'm not that great with professional style social media with how I update this blog. It's supposed to be every Thursday. But the keen observer will notice that I missed last week. And that today is Friday. I'm supposed to grow my readership by being consistent. But I was busy in meetings all day yesterday! What's a girl supposed to do?

I'm sure there's some happy medium to be found between always being on social media and never bothering with it. After all, it looks like this internet thing is here to stay, so it clearly has to be more about rolling with the punches and incorporating it well instead of trying to be above it, or pretending it doesn't exist or matter.

Sorry, guys. There isn't really a final point I'm trying to make with this post, or thesis I'm trying to prove. It's not as simple as "rape is bad" was for my last post.

How rare is it that someone writes "sorry it's not about rape"? I mean, it's good that it's rare. But still. Weird, man.

Seriously though, I live and function best within rules and boundaries. They can be rules and boundaries that I set for myself. But scheduling and guidelines are some of my best friends. If you have any good ones for using social media, I'd really love to hear them.

Oh man. I wrote that and thought about it and now my next post may be another musing, but on the value of rules, schedules, and guidelines. Am I a grown up yet? Am I boring yet?

Actor Crushes and Me - "I hope you appreciate what I go through for you!" - Sebastian, The Little Mermaid

I was watching a television show last week that I was fully aware is utterly terrible, but I was doing it because I have a huge crush on one of the actors in it.

I'm not going to name names. That wouldn't be classy. But guys, it was bad. I was yelling at my computer screen all episode every episode. The quick cuts to avoid actual stunts were so flimsy. The writing was pathetic and unbelievable (in that I didn't believe what the characters were saying).

And then the actor who I'm basically in love with said "I think I love her" about a character he had just met TWO EPISODES AGO and I am not here for that.

So I went onto his IMDb page and found another show that he's in and I started that and it's fantastic and if you're paying attention it'll probably be the next show about which I do an analysis type post.

But it got me thinking. I have a lot of shows on my list of television I need to see. I have, like, a planned out schedule of what I'm going to watch when. But I just got reminded of how much I like this guy, and that all vanishes as I have to watch things just because he's in them.

What is it about this guy that does this to me? Or about any actor that does this to anyone? It's not like I know him personally. He's attractive, but he's not exactly the only attractive person in the entertainment industry. He's a good actor, but he's not exactly the only good actor in the entertainment industry. I don't follow him on social media. What is this? WHAT ARE THESE STRANGE FEELINGS I HAVE??

Well. Part of that answer, I'm sure, goes beyond what I can properly discuss in a blog post, and is way outside of my area of expertise. I'm sure there's a large part of it that ought to be discussed in the context of the science of love, lust, and attraction. And I always liked biology in high school, but even studying it through Khan Academy in my free time doesn't make me qualified to talk about it on that level.

But I want to go more into why we follow actors that we like. It's a pretty important thing for me to at least be aware of, after all. But why follow actors? Why not just appreciate the performances of theirs that we've seen and leave it at that?

I'm sure part of it comes down to personality. We see personality traits we like in the performances of the actors we like. When we enjoy a person and their personality, we want to spend more time with them and become friends... but when we have no way of actually meeting that actor, all we can do is look for those parts of their personality in other performances. Watching through all of someone's IMDb credits, then, is our way of "hanging out" with that actor. People really like actors who are genuine and bring themselves to each of their roles - look at Jennifer Lawrence, or Chris Pratt - so I think that has to be a solid portion of my answer here.

But then why watch their bad work as well? Every actor has the projects of which they're not proud. And we watch them anyway. I know I'm not alone in this, don't try to lie to me/yourself about it! Those are usually the least genuine of their performances... that's not the "friend" we're making. So why bother?

Well, in some cases, it'll be about how attractive they are, and we're just enjoying the aesthetics of their face. Which is a totally reasonable thing and there is no shame at all in that.

And I suppose there's a certain point where we're not going to know how bad something is until we see it for ourselves.

But aside from that? Is it the actor's brand that we've grown attached to, and this is just a form of brand loyalty? The same way people will insist on Coke unless Pepsi is the only option available (or whatever other example of brand loyalty strikes your fancy)?

Is it something about us, wanting to stick with a "friend" through the good times as well as the bad? Does it give us a deeper sense of connection with that actor?

Is this all just me being embarrassed of how much of this terrible television show I watched and trying to find an excuse for it?

Anything and everything is possible. And it probably varies between different people as well.

But especially as an actor, it's a pretty important issue to consider, I think. After all, I want people to feel that way about me.

(And, as any actor will tell you verbatim, it's all about me.)

Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Projects - "But when I see how sad you are, it sorta makes me happy!" - Avenue Q

I had a whole, long, interesting post about social media written out. It didn't vilify social media, nor raise it up as the answer to all of my self-promotion problems. It was simply a discussion of when I am able to post to social media, how useful is it really when I'm already doing work, et cetera. It took a long-ass time to type out.

Guess what simply disappeared when I tried to post it??

So eventually, you're going to get a post that I would love to start a discourse about the uses of social media as millenials become professionals.

Today, though, you're going to get a much shorter post about another issue creatives face. Nothing too complex, but just something I've been thinking about recently.

What do you do with projects when you're proud of your work, but you know the overall product just isn't good enough for you and your brand?

(For the record, this isn't about anyone with whom I'm currently working, or with whom I have recently worked! So if you're reading this and you think it's about you... it's not.)

I've seen projects ranging in distribution from short films made by friends to full on broadcast TV shows that have just been embarrassing as a whole. And just... what do you do with those when you have them? I know I certainly have projects where I know I performed well in them, but I can't link anyone to the final product because it's nearly unwatchable, even for me.

And just... what do I do with those? That's a genuine question; I really have no idea. I did the work, and I want to be able to show off that I'm being cast in a wide variety of projects. But how do I link people (as in, industry professionals) to those projects without looking like a damn fool?

If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. This post is super simple because I have absolutely no answers, or even anything close to answers. Even though it's so super awkward when it happens to you.

Even if it's mildly hilarious when it happens to somebody else.

"A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He posts precisely when he means to." - Gandalf the Grey, The Lord of the Rings (or something like that)

So those of you who are good at numbers and dates and figures have probably noticed that I haven't posted anything in here for about a month.

Those of you who aren't probably noticed as well.

But I have an excellent excuse this time! For ten days, ending this past Sunday, I was at the Tribeca Film Festival!

...I have no excuse for the time before the Tribeca Film Festival.

But you guys, TFF was amazing. Working there was legitimately fun! I met so many wonderful people! I got to network with fellow filmmakers!

And the thing I took advantage of the most: There were tons of really wonderful films there.

I saw sixteen of them.

Now, I'm not going to post about all of the films here because not only would that make for a disgustingly long blog post (that, frankly, I don't have the time to fully write during the half hour I have left of my lunch break at my day job) but also I just really want to highlight a few of the ones that really stood out to me. Which isn't to say that the others weren't wonderful! But here are a few of my favorites for which I really think you should be looking out.

Viaje
Viaje was the first film I saw during the festival, and one of the most visually gorgeous. It was shot in black and white in the parks of Costa Rica, which seems ridiculous to say as that's a place that's known for its color, but the effect works perfectly. Especially for how intimate the film was, it meant that we could focus on the story and the characters instead of being overwhelmed by the environment. It was fairly small - almost the entire thing was just the two lead characters. But they got the intimacy of a non-traditional relationship down perfectly. The both of them had incredible chemistry together. And it's just lovely overall to watch.

We are Young. We are Strong.
You guys, this movie left me literally in hysterics at the end. Hysterics in that I couldn't stop crying I was so terrified. It wasn't a horror film, it was just based on true events. It takes place in the former East German city of Rostock in 1992, during the anti-immigrant riots. And it focuses on three storylines: That of a Vietnamese immigrant who wants to be a productive member of German society - she has a job, she's working towards her residency, etc. - but is still very much an immigrant; a politician who is trying to figure out how to deal with all of this anger and outcry from a political perspective; and his son, a teenager, who goes around the city with his friends... and they're all neo-Nazis. The thing this film does so terrifyingly well is that is shows the humanity of each of the characters. I honestly couldn't even tell you that the Nazi boys in this film are bad people because they're so real and the audience can see exactly where they're all coming from, even when they do awful things to other people. And it was upsettingly timely, too. I want everyone who has an opinion on the rioters in Baltimore to shut up and watch this film first. There are parts in the middle where it could've been cut a little, but the last act is so powerful I ended up just not even caring. It'll terrify you. Go watch it.

Good Kill
This one will probably be fairly easy for you to find, as it stars Ethan Hawke, January Jones, and Zoe Kravitz. So it'll get distributed. It's the only film I've ever so much as heard of telling the story of the soldiers who man the drones in the Middle East while safe here in the US, and the issues they deal with/the incredible PTSD that is inflicted upon them. Ethan Hawke is fantastic in this; subtle, truthful, and brutal. I desperately wish they had given the female characters more, though. January Jones was painfully underused because they just elected to focus more on Hawke's Manly Pain than tell anyone else's story. But overall it was satisfying, eye-opening, and very much worth the watch, especially if you enjoyed films like The Hurt Locker.

Grandma
During the Q&A after the film, someone stood up and asked Lily Tomlin how it feels to be a goddess. And a lot of the audience was a little annoyed that this guy hadn't stood up and asked a more substantive question. But none of us could really disagree, either. This film is funny! And substantive! And human! And real! And not only does Lily Tomlin own it, but she brings out the best in everyone around her, too. The film is about a girl who needs money for an abortion, so she goes to her grandmother for help. But she doesn't have the money either, so the two of them go off on a journey to get it. And it's edgy and sharp and witty and wonderful. Not only did it make me think about humanity and relationships and why we bother getting into them/what do they mean about us as a species, but it also made me laugh and left me feeling good at the end. What more could you want in a film?

Sleeping With Other People
Here's another film that is going to get picked up; it's more a matter of "when" than "if." It stars Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie, and it's the single most feminist and sex-positive romcom I've ever seen. And I love romcoms with a passion. The director described it as "When Harry Met Sally for assholes" and it's exactly that, but funny in a modern, coarse way that Nora Ephron never really touched, giving the film its own flavor. I so desperately want this film to get really wide distribution, or to at least have a cult following. Because it was, by far, my favorite film of the festival.

Tenured
There were parts of the pacing that were rough, character traits that I just straight up didnj't believe, and plot points that weren't really necessary and I don't care about any of that because the film was clever and funny. It's about a fifth grade teacher who falls apart when his wife leaves him, and how he then tries to use the school play to win her back. I do wish that they had discussed any of the women in the film more and, instead of just asking us to trust that they were worth loving, told us why. But the film overall was still an absolute delight because it had loads and loads of heart. Which is, I think, the most important thing this kind of film can have. Also, the kids who play the entire fifth grade class are amazing. They alone make the film worth seeing. And there's a whole lot more than them to make it worth it.

...I have to stop now because I literally have a minute to post this and finish eating before going back to work. But expect more posts soon about more things TFF! Because it's really an amazing festival.

West Wing Binge Watch 2k15 is complete! - "What's next?" - Every episode of The West Wing

So I just finished The West Wing. I will tell you right now that there are going to be spoilers all throughout this post, so if you haven't seen the series yet and don't want to be spoiled for it, you should probably just stop here and come back to this later! And then question yourself and all of your life choices to figure out why you haven't watched this incredible show yet.

...Do they really count as spoilers if the show has been finished for ten years? I dunno. But I'd hate to ruin it for someone who is in the same position I was in just a few months ago.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still a little bit of a mess from that finale. So much of it was primarily manipulative and I loved it. I mean, Donna getting her own massive office? CJ, Will, Kate, and Charlie having to move out of their own? All of the talks between Presidents Bartlet and Santos? Bartlet for America??? It utterly wrecked me. It was great.

As for the show overall... I think it can really be split up into three separate shows. There's Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing. There's post-Sorkin West Wing. And then there's the season in between, season 5, where it all just kind of really sucked. God, season 5 was rough. But aside from that, the two others both have their merits and their negatives and everything, but I think it's also very difficult to discuss them as if they're the same show.

Sorkin's West Wing is sexy. It's fast paced, it's the walk-and-talk, it's multiple storylines going on at once, it's the slow development of relationships that build on each other, it's being utterly unable to watch just one episode. I mean that both in a good way (I've spent literal days watching as much of Sorkin's West Wing as I had hours awake in my Saturday) and also in a bad way (if you don't start at the beginning, you'll be pretty lost). But I really don't think that this series could've gotten off the ground with anyone other than Aaron Sorkin. And I think that he is the master of the emotional arcs of the characters he really cares about. "Noel" is, to date, one of my favorite television episodes of anything ever. ("Noel" is the one where we find out that Josh has PTSD. The scene where we see that he actually put his hand through a window? At the end when he and Donna come across the carolers outside the White House? Bradley Whitford's acting??? It's the episode where I realized just how much I love this show. Like, I already knew that I loved it. But this episode is a turning point. It's extraordinary television.)

Post-Sorkin West Wing can be really interesting too, though. For starters, can we discuss how much better women are treated post-Sorkin? Like, women aren't treated horribly in the first few seasons - I have a deep love for Ainsley Hayes, for instance, and no one can ever tell me that CJ Cregg isn't a wonderful character straight from the start, not to even start on Donna Moss - but they're just treated so much better post-Sorkin. I particularly loved the decision to make CJ chief of staff, especially when we expected the position to go to either Josh or Toby. And I love how Josh and Donna didn't really come together until they were equals. I really kinda doubt that Sorkin would've done that, but I loved it.

(Incidentally, everything about Josh and Donna makes me so happy. That is the way you have will-they-or-won't-they characters come together. That was perfect.)

I also think that post-Sorkin West Wing was better at long plotlines than Sorkin's West Wing is. Sorkin's West Wing is great in that it has smaller multi-episode arcs come up and they overlap so it feels natural but season-long arcs are slow and small and subtle, which is nice. But, especially when it came to the end, that's a very different style from the Santos vs. Vinick campaign. And that presidential campaign was so intense! I was genuinely nearly as nervous and stressed about the outcome of it as I get about real life campaigns!

I'm not going to discuss season 5. It's just not worth it. That's not the show that I love.

And finally... the finale. The thing that made it particularly special was how much it focused on the transfer of power. That transfer of power - the "peaceful revolution" as it was called when it first happened from Washington's presidency to Adams's - is one of the greatest things the US has and continues to accomplish every four or eight years. The idea that someone who is literally the most powerful person in the world just gives up his power? That transfer is one of the most difficult things a person can do, and it's very much the most dramatic thing happening every inauguration day. Especially considering how it's a series that focused on Bartlet, even if it just came to the end of a season that focused on Santos, that transfer of power that then brings to light the emotional journey of the both of them was the right choice.

And you guys, it made me cry so, so much. Tears everywhere. I am so glad I knew not to wear makeup today.

I have many more thoughts about many more aspects of the show - Vinick as Secretary of State, for instance, and what they're doing about VP, and what's coming up for Margaret and everyone whose futures we haven't explicitly been given - but this is already a hella long post. So if you're interested, please feel free to ask me! I'm clearly dying to talk about it! But I definitely need to cut myself off here for now.

So I guess, to take the utterly cheesy route, the only thing left to ask now is...

what's next?

Reflecting on my Actor's Journey - "Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? WHEN WILL MY REFLECTION SHOW..." - Mulan, or college kids belting Disney songs

Oops I haven't really updated in about two weeks.

My bad.

It's been a crazy busy time, though, let me tell you. (You do kind of have to let me tell you if you're reading this blog.) And there's been a lot of stuff that has happened that I promise I'm going to write about! Stuff like how I saw The Heidi Chronicles on Broadway with Elizabeth Moss! And how I also saw all of the live action Oscar nominated short films! And how I began a new day job! And how I was in a music video on Saturday, and what it's like to have a role as anything from a background actor to a lead actor! And all kinds of other things that you'll hear about from me in the near future.

But in the meantime, right now, I want to talk about the importance of reflection, especially on an acting career.

...Even if I don't have a ton of time to do it when my computer has 13% battery and I don't have my charger at work.

The thing is, I noticed a change in me, even over just two weeks of not blogging about my ~journey~.

Reflection is the way we take stock of where we are as people, where we'd like to go, what steps we're taking to get there, and how we're doing. And that's true and important for any person in any career ever, not just acting. It is particularly useful as an actor, because by reflecting on the roles that we've booked, the auditions that we've had, and the patterns we see in them, we can see what our type is, how well casting directors like us, and what our technique is doing for us.

It doesn't necessarily have to be done in blog form, even though I tend to like it for myself. It can be done through meditation, keeping a journal, the creation of art, exercise, or yoga, or something. Which probably has something to do with actors constantly being associated with a heavy interest in what most of the rest of the world calls "New Age-y crap."

But when I'm not reflecting on myself and my life, I find that things slip away from me more easily. Time passes without my realizing how quickly it's going by. I forget to do basic tasks that should be the most obvious things to do as an actor - sometimes that even includes submitting myself for roles in films or shows! And it almost always leads to a decline in how quickly I respond to messages. Case in point: On my personal Facebook, I have no fewer than 15 unread messages currently in my inbox. (Before I sound too unprofessional, I just want to say that most of those are from friends, not about films or parts or anything!) (Also, if you're one of those people who sent me a message on Facebook literally weeks ago, I'm sorry!! I'll get to it soon, I promise!)

It feels counter-intuitive when I say it. That, in order to be more productive, I have to take time out of my schedule to think about my journey and where I am in my career. I certainly always feel self-conscious when I think about it in as many words. I never wanted to be one of those actors who constantly talks about their spirituality; even if it is something I believe in, no one wants to hear about my spirit in everyday conversation. Not to mention that it's pretty pretentious. And besides, saying that I'm going to take time out of my very busy schedule to think about my very busy schedule just feels dumb, and like a terrible use of my time.

But, of course, that's dumb. As I've just spent the majority of this blog post explaining.

So I suppose that the point I'm going for here is that, no matter how ridiculous it feels, reflection needs to be a higher priority. For me, as well as all of the rest of us.

Or, phrased differently... I'll update more reliably! Really! I promise!

...7% battery. Damn.

#TheDress #whiteandgold #blueandblack

I had a wrap-up post about the Oscars planned. But I wanted to make sure I really thought through my opinions on things like Patricia Arquette's speech, the prevalence of suicide mentions throughout the ceremony, the ceremony itself, and the winners.

And by the time I finished doing that, the internet had moved on, and any such post would've been utterly irrelevant.

By this point, you've probably heard about The Dress, but in case you haven't been online in the last 12 hours, it's about whether this dress is white and gold or blue and black.

(For the record, I can see both. Suck it, losers who can only see it one way.)

Almost everyone on almost every social media feed I follow has been talking about it, or at least has put in their opinion as to what colors the dress is. And I know a lot of people who have gotten angry at how much everyone seems to care about it when there are, admittedly, many things of far greater importance in the world.

I've also seen people who are angry at how shallow an "issue" this is. Which isn't inaccurate. At least with, say, last year's ice bucket challenge, money was being raised for ALS research. But this is just people having heated arguments over perception.

But, to be honest, I kind of like it. I don't mind small, shallow things sweeping through social media quickly and then vanishing as this undoubtedly will in a few days. I'd far rather we think so little about something as inconsequential as this - a matter which is easy to discuss, simple to form an opinion about, and good for connecting with people - than think equally little about issues of actual importance.

I like memes because they give us a shared cultural experience that we don't have to worry about rushing or under-thinking. And we can then put more thought into things that actually matter.

I am working on a short film now. It's about millennials, sexism, and what it means to be a professional in the modern world where everything about everyone's life is scrutinized and the news can change in an instant. It's something I've had to put a lot of thought into, and every time I have friends read the script, the feedback I get this most is to "go deeper." And I love it. It doesn't have to get published right away - in fact, it won't come out for a while, considering how I'm still in the writing stages - so I can state a fully formed opinion, one that I have truly thought through and considered from every side.

And you know, people still go to the movies. People are still interested in points of view that have been deeply considered every bit as much as they are in #TheDress. After all, everyone had an opinion on the Oscars, too. You have to have seen at least one or two movies over the course of the year to care about the awards that much.

Maybe I'm just being an silly optimist. But I'd much rather be an optimist than be legitimately angry over people talking about a dress.

Recipe of the Post: Chicken Marsala

Life Hack: Put a bit of colored tape on the top of all of your USB wires - that way, you'll never try to plug one into your computer while upside-down again!

Oscar Picks 2015 - "I used to think that awards ceremonies were... just for publicity purposes. Until you win one. And then you realize it's the people's voice wanting to be heard." - William H. Macy

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Academy Awards are on Sunday. So, with a few days left to edit them if I change my mind, I'm making my picks for the 2015 Oscar winners!

I'm mostly keeping it to "above the line" categories, just because it would take me hours to type out my thoughts on every single award. I have learned from my mistakes blogging about the Golden Globes. I'd rather just obsess over all of them than obsess over all of them AND type it all out! But, of course, like any liberal arts degree holder, if you are curious I am more than happy to give my opinion.

Best Picture
American Sniper
Boyhood
Birdman (or, the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

So this is a tighter category than I expected it to be at the beginning of the awards season! I didn't think that Whiplash, Birdman, or American Sniper would make the showing that they have. I still think that Boyhood is going to pull ahead as the winner - it's won more Best Picture awards over the course of the awards season than anything else - but with how well the other two have done and campaigned, it might not be the upset I originally would've thought it would be if they won. The mock odds in Las Vegas agree with me, putting Boyhood's chances at 2 to 5.

Best Actor
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton - Birdman (or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

This pick can't possibly be a surprise to anyone who knows me. Or, really, anyone at all. Michael Keaton has had a very strong showing this season, but not only has Eddie Redmayne won all of the biggest awards for Best Actor so far (BAFTAs, Golden Globes, SAG Awards), he also still had the most transformative performance of the year. That being said, the Vegas oddsmakers disagree - they have it as a very tight race between the two of them, with Michael Keaton just pulling ahead at 5 to 6 odds, while Redmayne has 11 to 10. I guess the professional oddsmakers are wrong, and this young woman who doesn't know squat about odds is better than them.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild

Between her record this season, the subject matter she's dealing with, and, you know, the performance she gave, I think Julianne Moore has this one in the bag. This was a pretty simple choice, really. And she has the best individual odds of the season, at 1 to 9. Easiest pick of the night.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman (or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

I think this is Whiplash's big category. I haven't even seen it yet (I know, I know) but I've heard so many good things about it that it kind of should be getting more... aside from how all of the other films also deserve it. But J.K. Simmons' performance is so widely well received, he's been campaigning beautifully for it, and it's been showing pretty much all season. And his odds are at 1 to 5. This is the one Whiplash really has down.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Laura Dern - Wild
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman (or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods

She's been winning the Best Supporting Actress awards all season. After Julianne Moore for Best Actress, Patricia Arquette for Best Supporting Actress is the second easiest pick of the night. And, fittingly enough, she has the second best odds, at 1 to 7. Between this and Best Actress, I have all kinds of things to say about the competition in the female acting categories, but for now I'll just leave it to the fact that you should put your money on her in your office pool.

Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

I'm pretty ashamed of myself - I only saw one animated film all year, and that was The Lego Movie. Meaning that I have no idea from experience what any of these films are like. So my pick is going entirely off of the Golden Globes win for How to Train Your Dragon 2. But the various ceremonies so often give awards to the same films that it still seems like a pretty safe choice.

Best Director
Alejandro G. Inarritu - Birdman (or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game

The man directed a film over 12 years. He's been winning all season. I'm pretty sure he's got this one. Vegas agrees with me, putting his odds at 1 to 6.

Best Screenplay
Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bo - Birdman (or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman - Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson (and story also by Hugo Guinness) - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy - Nightcrawler

I think this is the one where The Grand Budapest Hotel finally gets actually recognized in the Oscars. I think that Birdman and Boyhood are also a very, very strong possibilities. And maybe it's my own sense of wanting them to win that's making me say this as opposed to looking at the facts of what has won over awards season so far, since the three of them have been pretty tied. But I think The Grand Budapest Hotel is going to actually pull ahead and win.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jason Hall - American Sniper
Graham Moore - The Imitation Game
Paul Thomas Anderson - Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten - The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle - Whiplash

The Imitation Game was the favorite for this award going into this season. But after The Theory of Everything upset it at the BAFTAs (yay more awards for The Theory of Everything!) I think another film can, and will, upset it here, too. Right now, I think that film will be Whiplash because it's been getting so much buzz. But it's also the category on which I've had the hardest time deciding. I would, of course, be happy if The Theory of Everything won! And American Sniper wouldn't surprise me either, since this is just about the only award it would win. But right now, I'm thinking it's going to be Whiplash.
Which is a little sad for The Imitation Game. This is the only category for which it was a favorite, and now it's not getting this, either. And it wasn't a bad screenplay! It just didn't have anything new. Which is unfortunate.

And now, some film categories I like to pretend I know something about...

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman (or, The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Robert Yeoman - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski - Ida
Dick Pope - Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins - Unbroken

They managed to make a film that looked like it was shot entirely in one take. That's such an extraordinary feat of cinema that it's never been done before. It's gotta be recognized for that, right?

Best Costume Design
Milena Canonero - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mark Bridges - Inherent Vice
Colleen Atwood - Into the Woods
Anna B. Sheppard - Maleficent
Jacqueline Durran - Mr. Turner

I think Maleficent doesn't exactly have a bad chance at this one, but Into the Woods took us successfully into a whole other world that was a combination of several different worlds, and made it work. Not that I've seen any of these, but... just from the trailers alone, I think this one goes to Into the Woods. Maleficent looked fantastic herself, but I remember nothing about any of the other characters, and I remember several costumes from Into the Woods.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard - Foxcatcher
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White - Guardians of the Galaxy

It just about always goes to a fantasy film for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Besides, they made a green and a blue woman! Along with all of the other characters they did who weren't computer animated! Foxcatcher did this beautifully subtle transformation of Steve Carell, but I still think Guardians of the Galaxy is gonna get one Oscar, and it's gonna be this one. 

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat - The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer - Interstellar
Gary Yershon - Mr. Turner
Johann Johannson - The Theory of Everything

Between the fact that it won at the Golden Globes and the fact that I can't stop listening to it, I think The Theory of Everything has this one. Now, that may just be the fact that it is undoubtedly a pretty score coupled with I-want-it-to-win syndrome. After all, Alexandre Desplat is nominated twice - shouldn't that mean something? But based on its performance thus far, I also think I genuinely do have good cause to believe The Theory of Everything will win best score.

Best Original Song
Shawn Patterson - "Everything is Awesome" from The Lego Movie
John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn - "Glory" from Selma
Dianne Warren - "Grateful" from Beyond the Lights
Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond - "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me
Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois - "Lost Stars" from Begin Again

After the incredible outcry against how snubbed Selma was at this year's nominations, I can't imagine it wouldn't get the only category where it actually has a chance of winning. Not only has it won at the biggest award ceremonies (mostly just the Golden Globes, but that's a pretty big awards ceremony!) but it's also been getting the most buzz. Don't get me wrong, "Everything is Awesome" is an absurdly catchy song. Just from thinking about it, it's making its way back into my head, and it'll probably stay stuck there for a few days now. But it would be a major shock if "Glory" didn't end up winning.

If anyone is interested, all of my statistics for the Las Vegas odds for Oscar winners come from here!

Finally, I'm going to try something new here - to make my posts more interesting/to make more people want to read them, I'm going to put life hacks, recipes, and/or other useful things at the end of one each week! So...

Emma's Weekly Internet Finds!

Life Hack: Use waxed, unflavored dental floss to cleanly slice across a cake.

Recipe You'll Mean to Try All Week and Forget But Is Still Really Pretty: Rainbow Heart Cookies - Eugenie Cookies